Education System in the United Arab Emirates


 EducationSchool/LevelGrade FromGrade ToAge FromAge ToYearsNotes
PrimaryPrimary166126 
MiddlePreparatory7912153 
SecondarySecondary101215183Certificate/diploma awarded: Secondary School Leaving Certificate
VocationalTechnical Secondary School10 12186Certificate/diploma awarded: Technical Secondary Diploma
TertiaryBachelor    4 
TertiaryMaster    1 
TertiaryDoctorate    3 

Primary Education

Education continues to be a top priority in the United Arab Emirates, and the Abu Dhabi Education Council is continuing to make great strides. All levels including tertiary are free (including at a growing number of private institutions) and over 80% of secondary school leavers avail themselves of the opportunity. The 6 years at primary school are compulsory, and create the foundation for what is to follow.

Middle Education

The 3 years at preparatory school that follow are compulsory too. This marks the end of the mandatory schooling period - students are now free to study on, or find work. Many of the poorer outside the cities still unfortunately do, despite all the efforts.

Secondary Education

There are 2 kinds of secondary schools. Ordinary secondary schools teach academic subjects aimed at a secondary school leaving certificate (the qualification for university education) for 3 years. Technical secondary schools are more specific skill focused – following their 3 years most students leave with a technical secondary diploma.

Vocational Education

The United Arab Emirates is determined to replace its oil based-economy by becoming an industrial heartland. A national qualifications authority coordinates the efforts of a network of vocational skills training centers, to ensure quality outcomes, and the involvement or organized labor in assignment with national priorities.

Tertiary Education

United Arab Emirates EducationThe Emirates are exceptionally well endowed with tertiary education institutions, of which the leading state-sponsored ones are United Arab Emirates (UAE) University, Zayed University and Higher Colleges of Technology. There are a number of excellent vocational and technical centers too.


The UAE University partly illustrated here was established in 1977. Today is has over 15,000 students of which almost 80% are women, and offers more than 70 undergraduate degrees.


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